Nothing like running for office to get one’s views on comparative advantage noticed. The Financial Times editorial today is blunt and to the point: ‘Hilary is Wrong on Trade’. It goes on (and we quote): “Even with forthright US leadership, the prospects for the Doha round are poor. Without it, they are nil. What a sad prospect, that under a new Clinton presidency the Doha round might fail because of American disenchantment with trade”.
Dani Rodrik’s blog interprets Hilary’s views more generously: “What she seems to be saying is: let’s focus our energies on making sure we have a better set of (multilateral) rules, commanding greater legitimacy, instead of pushing for continued market-access through traditional trade agreements”. That is, both the developing and the developed worlds could benefit from a cool reappraisal of Doha. Certainly the Doha round has many critics who question its development effectiveness.
Much of this is the usual tactics of politicians hungry for office (no doubt Hilary’s statement is responding to some focus group or other – that’s democracy for you). But we fear for the world’s hungry: they have no US vote.